San Diego

Shopping Malls Packed the Weekend Before Christmas Despite Pandemic

Shoppers pack San Diego Malls the weekend before Christmas despite the pandemic.

NBC Universal, Inc.

A surge of holiday shoppers on the last weekend before Christmas had parking lots packed, and some stores too, shoppers told NBC7.

“Last minute shopping that's how it is for a lot of us,” said Alex Solano.

At one shopping mall, an employee told NBC7 off camera this weekend felt five times busier than last.

According to the National Retail Federation survey, 150 million consumers said they planned to shop on so-called Super Saturday alone, up from 148 million last year.

Regina Williams said it was too late to order gifts online and have them delivered on time, “And I was able to get me some good deals.”

But with Southern California under a stay-at-home order and ICU beds at 0-percent capacity due to climbing COVID-19 cases, some shoppers, like Oscar Solano, told us the crowds concerned him, “I don't think it felt safe just because not everyone was wearing a mask and not everyone was social distancing.”

Others told NBC7 stores were strictly following California's 20-percent capacity rule for retailers.

Including a Kearny Mesa sporting goods store which had shoppers spaced apart outside until there was space to go in.

“It's very nice because everybody's keeping the social distance,” said Lucy Mendoza after shopping inside a Serra Mesa big box store.

Some customers also said they notices safety protocols in place including plastic barriers at cash registers and hand sanitizer at store entrances.

And with Christmas falling on Friday the holiday shopping frenzy, in a year like no other, will likely go on for a few more days.

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